In fifth grade, Lisa was in the first class to be bused to the Valley—a predominantly white neighborhood—where she thought she would be welcomed. Instead, she was met with name-calling. "My self-esteem went way down," she says.
Although she eventually became a popular student, Lisa struggled with depression. "At 17, when my best friends were thinking what college to go to, UCLA or USC, I was contemplating suicide and trying to figure out how to do it without getting blood on my mother's carpet because I knew they couldn't afford to move," she says.
Growing up, Lisa was also told that she wasn't pretty and wouldn't find love. She began having "a lot of sex looking for a little love," searching for her own validation in men. "The sex led to a lot of pain. I thought if I was saying no to the sex, I was saying no to potential love. And I didn't want to say no to love."
Lisa began to gain weight in order to avoid men altogether. After gaining 100 pounds, Lisa says she was obese and embarrassed.